September, October, November and December: these are the Ember months, the last quarter of the year.
In Nigeria, (I hope this superstition isn’t worldwide) we believe all manner of catastrophes happen in these four months before the year runs out.
It’s as if disaster waits from the beginning of the year and is let loose once August ends through the end of the year.
I remember when I used to worship at a very popular church in Lagos. Praying specifically against disasters in the Ember months were taken seriously. As serious as fasting and vigils, binding and loosing spirits that are activated to cause havoc.
Back then, when we heard of people dying in road accidents or some disaster befalling communities; it’s as if the victims didn’t pray enough or didn’t fast enough to have foreseen the disaster coming their way. So, we were urged to pray harder…
And we did!
Errm, I discovered years after that most times, these disasters are man-made.
Chaos and disasters do not recognize any particular periods or wait for the ember months to unleash. Instead, most of these disasters, whether by force of nature or of man, could mostly, have been prevented if we had been vigilant.
Take the perennial flooding and whole communities being swept away, for instance; rains that come later in the year often cause flooding, sweeping away farmlands and communities. This is no spiritual mystery. People have often been warned to move from their communities to higher grounds to prevent being swept away; communities are often warned about disposing refuse correctly to avoid the clogging of drains…But nobody listens. Then the rains come, like the time of Noah and sweeps people off and we cry…Ember months disaster!
Ember months also witness a spike in road accidents. Reckless driving during festive season is common. Many times, these commercial drivers, especially, because of the spike in human traffic travelling to destinations to be with their loved ones for the festive periods, get reckless and in their bid to go back and forth as many times as they dare. These results in carnage on our roads.
On individual levels, it’s been noted that suicide usually is on the increase during the ember months.
Again, there’s nothing spiritual about it.
The ember months spell failure to people who’ve set goals earlier in the year and suddenly find they hadn’t achieved half of what they set out to when September slips in. These people look back at what they consider wasted months from January until August and so; they feel they may never be able to catch up on their goals on what is left for the rest of the year and so they give up.
NGOs involved in helping people who are suicidal during the ember months have discovered that many victims just feel let down when as the year slowly ends, they are unable to achieve their set goals.
What do you say in the spike of robbery and the new rave, kidnapping attacks? It’s the same pattern. It’s nothing spiritual. In fact, it’s just perpetrators wanting to shine during the festive period as well. They want to show off their new cars, clothes…proceeds of their brigandage to people around. So, they engage more in their criminal activities for profit.
So, as those who through honest gains flaunt their new acquisitions, especially those from abroad; same way those though dishonest gains wish to show off…They target their victims and go for the spoils!
Now, this is not to say ember months have no spiritual connotations. Like every other day, especially in a country like Nigeria, where security of lives and property is nil; we all need to keep praying from January to December!